There are two parts to becoming a great putter. You need a consistent putting stroke and you need to know how to read greens.
The perfect putt doesn’t find the bottom of the hole if you read the break incorrectly. Learn to plumb bob and you will start making more putts!
Reading greens is tricky. For many players, it is like trying to learn a new language. You must factor in the slope, speed of the green, and other external factors (wind, moisture, grain, etc).
The key is to develop consistency and the plumb bob process will teach you to follow the same steps prior to each putt.
More good news, the plumb bob process doesn’t take a long time to perform. We want you to make more putts without creating a pace of play issue.
Golf is more fun when putts are falling. The ball rattling in the cup is the best sound you can hear on the golf course.
Plumb bob your putts to get a better understanding of the putting surface and to lower your golf handicap. Let’s roll!
What Is The History Of The Plumb Bob Process?
This may be hard to believe, but the concept behind the plumb bob process was actually created by the Egyptians long before golf was invented.
The Egyptians used this concept to confirm structures were vertical during construction. They would suspend a weight from a string to confirm a vertical line.
Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to bring a string and weight to the putting green. In the golf version of plumb bobbing the “string” is your putter!
The putter shaft is the string and the clubhead acts as the weight. When you let it hang, it creates a vertical line.
You can use this vertical line to determine the break of the putt. Keep reading to learn how!
4 Steps To Plumb Bob Your Putts
We like the concept of plumb bobbing because it is quick and simple. Once you learn the steps, you will be able to plumb bob any putt in less than 10 seconds.
If you watch the PGA tour on the weekends, you will start to notice that many of the players use this method. If they trust it, you should give it a try!
Step #1: Understand Your Equipment
The first step is an easy one and you will only have to do it once (unless you switch putters). You need to determine how your putter hangs.
There are many different types of putters. Blades, mallets, heel-shafted, center-shafted, etc. Not all models “hang” the same.
Hold your putter by the top of the grip and let it hang. Determine the best way to hold it so the shaft of the club is perfectly vertical.
Depending on the weight distribution of your putter hear, you may have to twist it to get the club to hang correctly.
Once you determine the best way to hold the putter, you can move on to step #2.
Step #2: Take Your Plumb Bob Stance
Stand behind your ball with your belt buckle facing the hole. Hold your putter up in front of you and let it hang vertically (like you practiced in step #1).
The grip of your putter should be slightly higher than your eye level and you want the shaft of your club to split your golf ball in half.
Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Basically, you are trying to hide the golf ball behind the shaft of your putter.
Step #3: Close Your Non-Dominant Eye
The first you need to do is to understand your dominant eye. If you aren’t sure, there are techniques to make this determination.
Once you align the shaft with the ball and close your non-dominant eye, you should see the break of the putt.
As you look at the hole, the shaft will either appear to the right or to the left of the hole. If it is still in the middle of the hole, the putt should be straight.
The idea is that location of the shaft is where you should aim. If it appears to the right of the hole, the putt is breaking from right to left.
The more break in the putt, the farther the shaft will appear from the hole.
Step #4: Learn To Plumb Bob On The Practice Green
This is definitely a concept that you have to try to understand. Take 30 minutes on the practice green and plumb bob different putts.
It may take you a little while to “get it”. Make sure you know your dominant eye and that you are letting the putter hang vertically.
It may take you a few minutes, but once you see it, it becomes easy. Hit some putts to determine the accuracy of your “plumb bob” reads.
Does Plumb Bobbing Work? Can You Trust It?
This is an interesting question. The concept of plumb bobbing has been around for decades and some players now prefer other techniques.
The first challenge with the plumb bob method is that it doesn’t always work well on longer putts or putts that break two different times.
It also doesn’t help you assess the slope of the putt – is it downhill or uphill?
The next question – what other techniques can you try to augment plumb bobbing without adding too much time to your putting routine?
We see value in this green reading concept, but you should include a “walk around” as well. Here is the green reading process that we recommend.
- Start by doing a quick plumb bob of your putt to get an idea of the direction of the break.
- Now do a “walk around”. Starting from behind your ball walk a complete circle around the hole.
- As you walk in a circle, pay close attention to the slopes you see from each angle and feel the slope in your feet.
- When you get back to your ball, do another quick plumb bob and pick where you want to aim your putt
- Make a confident stroke and hopefully your ball drops in the hole!
This entire green reading process can be completed in less than 20 seconds. You won’t impact the pace of your group and you will have a good idea of the read.
Have you noticed golfers on TV or on your golf course holding up their fingers while reading putts?
They are using the AimPoint green reading process. This is the primary alternative to plumb bobbing and has been growing in popularity in recent years.
AimPoint can be effective, but you need to be careful not to take too long and avoid stepping your opponent’s line.
PGA Tour professional Keegan Bradley uses AimPoint and was recently “roasted” online because he took 2+ minutes to read a putt.
Like most things in golf, there is more than one way to read greens. Find the process that works best for you and trust it.
The best putters in the world make more putts because they expect them to drop. Confidence plays a critical role in performing well on the greens.
In his prime, Tiger Woods never seemed to miss an important putt. He believed he could will the ball into the hole!
In summary, use plumb bobbing as a green reading tool to help you make more putts. Good luck and play well!